People using automated teller machines (ATMs) are vulnerable to mugging and theft. Withdrawing money at night from an isolated ATM in the darkness is an accident waiting to happen.
Someone out after dark and alone is at greater risk of being attacked simply because it’s harder to see and more likely no one will be there to witness or discourage an attack. In today’s world, it is unfortunate that we need to live with a keen awareness of our surroundings.
The ATM owner, often a bank, is responsible for the safety of its customers using the ATM. The owner should do what he or she can to create a safe environment for its users. Ways he or she can do this include:
- Cut away shrubbery blocking a clear view of the machine
- Adding a mirror to the machine so the person withdrawing funds can see around themselves
- Although it is not required everywhere, a security camera is very valuable to recording and discouraging theft
Other areas where ATMs are include outside convenience stores, in grocery stores, and at indoor and outdoor shopping centers. The owner of the premises where the ATM is located is responsible for the safety of its customers when it is clear that a particular spot location is dangerous.
When an ATM is repeatedly robbed or there is a history of customers being attacked at a machine, this fact should alert the bank to increase its security. If an ATM owner has ignored past attacks, it can help support allegations of the customer who is suing for damages.
Another issue is ATM scams by swindlers who prey upon people using the machine by stealing credit card or debit card information or money. Some of these criminals have devised clever ways to steal information or money from bank customers. Some of the crimes involve:
- Using a camera placed above the keypad to record information from the keys pushed or a card that is scanned.
- Placing a device inside a part of the machine to grab hold of someone’s withdrawal and not let it go. The customer walks away thinking the machine is out of order, while the scammer gets away with the cash.
Talk to a Premise Liability Lawyer
If something goes wrong at an ATM, chances are you will file a criminal case. You should also consider speaking with premise liability lawyer before filing to find out of you have grounds to go after the ATM or bank owner or the owner of the property where the ATM is located for negligence. Failure to protect its customers can be grounds for a suit. To learn about all your legal options, contact the Miami premise liability lawyers of Baron & Herskowitz today.